Stairway to Impact Award for biologist Lonneke IJsseldijk

Lonneke IJseldijk

Researcher Lonneke IJsseldijk is one of three winners of the annual Stairway to Impact Award. It is an incentive award from research funder NWO for researchers who are taking steps to make an impact. A sum of €50,000 is attached to the award.

NWO calls Lonneke IJsseldijk an expert in the field of marine mammals who contributes to both science and society with her knowledge and research. According to NWO, she informs and enthuses the public about marine mammals and their importance. For example, IJsseldijk has a group of whale fans who help her collect and secure stranded animals for scientific research. In return, her audience receives a wealth of interesting facts about these little-known animals. The jury is impressed with her work and its translation to society and policy makers. Her work has been invaluable to several government agencies and civil society organizations.

Preservation and protection

IJsseldijk is pleasantly surprised with the award: "In 2008, Stranding research started at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. As a team we have achieved a lot since then. I try to make this work visible through photo, video, social media and interviews, to reach as many people as possible to share what is being researched "behind the scenes." This award is a huge honor and I will use the prize money to give even more visibility to what we do. With the main goal being the preservation and protection of these special animals."


Dean Debbie Jaarsma is also delighted that Lonneke IJsseldijk won the Stairway to Impact Award: "She has invested a tremendous amount in stranding research in recent years. Her open attitude and enthusiasm around scientific research is catching for both her colleagues and the outside world. I think many scientists can take inspiration from the way Lonneke uses (social) media to make her research interesting and accessible to a large audience."

Read more about strandings investigation